Copy That wins again
By Michael Guerin
Copy That at least partially answered perhaps the main question hanging over his New Zealand Cup chances with a brave win at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.
The exceptional four-year-old gave favourite punters little reason for concern as he was good from the standing start and settled perfectly in the 2200m, gunning down leader Check In from the top of the straight.
Copy That always looked like he was going to get home and had a length to spare at the line, with Star Galleria a gutsy third after a torrid run in the middle stages.
Not as sharp though were four-placed Mach Shard, who was only ok after a lightning quick start to settle second while Triple Eight was beautifully driven but performed below his best in fifth.
Both can be forgiven as they were second up and 2200m standing start races when the leader puts the foot down all the way can undo horses early in their prep.
So from a New Zealand Cup point of view any horses beaten last night can be forgiven.
But the fact Check In ran them so hard and took his rivals out of their comfort zone added to the impressive nature of Copy That’s win because this time he has to show stamina, not just raw speed as he has up the lane in his las two starts.
Last night he was tractable and fast but also in for the fight and he is going to need to be that if he is going to have a realistic chance in the NZ Cup.
We still don’t know if he has the stomach yet for a brutal 3200m and he was, after all, beaten in the Woodlands Derby, albeit when tactics worked against him.
But driver Maurice McKendry says Copy That will stay.
“He had to stay a bit tonight because we were chasing and he knew he had had a run,” says McKendry.
“He had to fight to the line and while he won easily enough it wasn’t an easy race.
“So I don’t think staying is going to be an issue for him.”
The fact Copy That handled the standing start is also one less worry for punters and it would be an ideal NZ Cup script if he and his northern mates stayed north to create a different form line away from Self Assured and the southerners, to leave us all wondering pre-Cup.
One horse who won’t be heading to the Cup is Wainui Creek, who blew the standing start as did stablemate Belle Of Montana.
“She (Wainui Creek) is heading to Perth soon and she will join the Bond stable to be set for the mares races over there,” said co-trainer Scott Phelan.